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Your Environment. Your Health.

Center Spotlight

Robert Blount
Blount Studies Effects of Air Pollution on Tuberculosis in Vietnam

Robert Blount, M.D., a physician scientist at the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC), studies how exposure to air pollution affects tuberculosis risk and the body’s immune response to the lung infection.

  • Career Development
  • University of Iowa EHSRC
Brandon Pearson
Pearson Explores How Environmental Exposures Harm the Brain

Brandon Pearson, Ph.D., studies the role genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors play in the development of brain disorders at the Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM) at Columbia University.

  • Career Development
  • Columbia University CEHNM
Emily Liu
Climate LEAP Alumna Receives 2017 President’s Environmental Youth Award

High school senior Emily Liu was awarded the President’s Environmental Youth Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for her project focused on air quality and renewable energy. Liu’s project was inspired by her involvement in the Climate Leadership and Energy Awareness Program (Climate LEAP), which is funded in part by the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Awards
Carrie Breton, Sc.D.
Carrie Breton Discusses Air Pollution and Children’s Health on Science Friday

Carrie Breton, Sc.D., answered questions about how exposure to air pollution during pregnancy can affect fetal development on a September 2018 episode of Science Friday.

  • News & Media
  • SCEHS Center
Zelieann Craig, Ph.D.
Young Investigator Expands Phthalate Studies with Core Center Support

Zelieann Craig, Ph.D., is an early-stage investigator examining the effects of phthalate exposure on reproduction and infertility. She is a member of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

  • Career Development
CURES at Wayne State University
New Video Raises Awareness of Detroit’s Environmental Health Issues

A new video highlights how NIEHS grantees are raising awareness of the environmental health issues in Detroit. The video was created by the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State University.

  • Community Engagement
Dr. Catherine Karr and child
Catherine Karr Praised for Contributions to Improving Children’s Health in The Lancet

Catherine Karr, M.D., Ph.D., is working to improve children’s health using a community engaged approach. A recent article in The Lancet lauds her for her accomplishments.

  • Awards
  • UW EDGE Center
Testing the Safety of Cinnamon Flavoring in E-Cigarettes

In a study done on the health effects of e-cigarette flavoring, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) find that compounds that are safe to eat may have harmful effects on the lung’s defense system when inhaled.

  • Science Highlights
Early-Life Exposure to Fracking Chemicals May Damage Immune System

Maternal exposure to chemicals used in unconventional oil and gas extraction, also known as fracking, affected immune system function in mice, according to a new study by NIEHS grantees from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

  • Publications
  • NIEHS Paper of the Month
Gary Miller
HERCULES Center Director Gary Miller Featured on Big Picture Science

HERCULES Center Director Gary Miller, Ph.D., answered questions about the exposome and why it matters to human health on a recent episode of Big Picture Science, a weekly radio show and podcast of the SETI Institute.

  • News & Media
  • HERCULES Exposome Research Center
multigenerational family of women
Pregnancy Drug DES Might Have Triggered ADHD In the Grandchildren of Women Who Used It

Grandchildren of women who used the pregnancy drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), a known endocrine disruptor, have elevated odds for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study funded in part by NIEHS. The study is the first to provide evidence of the potential neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to endocrine disruptors across generations in humans. The study was a collaborative effort involving investigators from the EHS Core Centers at Columbia University and Harvard University.

  • Publications
  • EurekAlert!
Judith Zelikoff smiling
Judith Zelikoff Receives SOT Education Award

Judith Zelikoff, Ph.D., received the 2018 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Education Award for her significant contributions to toxicology education. She is director of the Community Engagement Core within the New York University (NYU) Environmental Health Sciences Core Center.

  • Awards
  • NYU Environmental Health Sciences Core Center
Dana Dolinoy smiling in her lab
Dana Dolinoy Receives Achievement Award from SOT

Dana Dolinoy, Ph.D., deputy director of the University of Michigan Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) Center, received the 2018 Achievement Award from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) for her work to understand how nutritional and environmental factors influence epigenetic gene regulation, and how early life exposures can lead to disease later in life.

  • Awards
  • M-LEEaD Center
DNA twisting in a double helix
Cadmium Exposure Linked to Epigenetic Disruption at DNA Regulatory Regions

Researchers from the North Carolina State University Center for Human Health and the Environment, identified hotspots in the human genome that are susceptible to epigenetic changes after cadmium exposure. The research provides clues about how cadmium exposure causes disease.

  • Publications
  • NCSU Center for Human Health and the Environment
Natalia Orlovsky pointing to a poster board
High School Scientist at NIEHS-funded Program Wins Big

A high school senior won $175,000 in prize money at a science research competition for her study on the health effects of e-cigarettes. The student, Natalia Orlovsky, collaborated with Jeffrey Field, Ph.D., who directs the Teen Research and Education and Environmental Science (TREES) program, which is a part of the Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Awards
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
microscopic cells
Lung Stem Cells Repair Airways After Injury

University of Iowa (UI) researchers have identified a new population of lung stem cells that appear to be important for repairing the airway following severe injury. The finding may help develop treatments for airway diseases, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. Funded in part by the UI Environmental Health Science Research Center, the research aligns with the Center’s focus on environmental lung disease. (Photo courtesy of Cell Stem Cell)

  • Publications
  • EurekAlert! Science News
Two researchers from Wayne State University standing in a lab
CURES Center Member Wins “AI for Earth” Award to Address Environmental Issues

A team of Wayne State University (WSU) researchers have received the “AI for Earth” Azure Award from Microsoft. The award will provide WSU researchers access to innovative data science, spatial analysis, and visualization tools to examine how pollutants contaminate Michigan water supplies.

  • Science Highlights
  • Wayne State University
Long haul trucks on a highway road
Rutgers Community Engagement Core Helps Improve Air Near Schools

With help from the Rutgers University Community Engagement Core, residents of Elizabeth, New Jersey launched a project to collect data on truck traffic and air pollution. They identified two locations along walking routes to local schools where more than 60 trucks passed per hour, leading to increased amounts of air pollution. Based on these results, Elizabeth now prohibits truck traffic on a portion of that route.

  • Community Engagement
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
An aerial shot of New York City
Use of Dirty Heating Oil in NYC Concentrated Uptown

Columbia University researchers conducted interviews with New York City (NYC) building owners, policy makers, and bank lenders to shed light on why some residential buildings in Northern Manhattan continue to burn fuels that produce high levels of air pollution, despite incentives to switch to cleaner fuels. The researchers proposed greater financial incentives and other changes to the NYC Clean Heat Program to encourage more buildings to use natural gas.

  • Science Highlights
  • EurekAlert! Science News
Adolescent girls
Air Pollution Linked to Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Air pollution may cause teenage girls to have irregular menstrual cycles, according to a study funded in part through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for EHS pilot project program. The study is the first to show that exposure to air pollution among teen girls is associated with slightly increased chances of menstrual irregularity and longer time to achieve such regularity in high school and early adulthood.

  • Science Highlights
  • EurekAlert! Science News
young girl lying on a coach
Prenatal Exposure to Flame Retardants Alters Serotonin Production in Rats by Disrupting Placental Function

Research from North Carolina State University’s Center for Human Health and the Environment suggests that prenatal exposure to flame retardant chemicals commonly used in furniture and baby products may hinder healthy brain development. The researchers found that the flame retardant chemical disrupts normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

  • Science Highlights
  • NC State News
teens walking in a park
Green Space May Lead to Less Depressed Teens

Adolescents living in areas surrounded by trees and other green vegetation have better mental health than those exposed to less greenery at home, according to new research supported in part by the EHS Core Center at Harvard University. The study is one of the first to examine the relationship between natural environments and depressive symptoms in adolescents.

  • Science Highlights
  • Harvard University
Heidi Hsieh
Heidi Hsieh Receives Early Career Professional Award from the American College of Toxicology

Heidi Hsieh, Ph.D., a former doctoral student in the Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG) at the University of Cincinnati (UC), was honored with the 2017 Early Career Professional Award from the American College of Toxicology. While at UC, Hsieh worked with CEG member Mary Beth Genter, Ph.D., to examine the mechanism of zinc toxicity in olfactory neurons. She is now a study director at Covance Laboratories, Inc. in Madison, Wisconsin.

  • Awards
  • University of Cincinnati
drain pipe
Researchers Study GenX Exposure in North Carolina Residents

Researchers from North Carolina State University’s Center for Human Health and the Environment are leading a collaborative project to study GenX exposure among residents of New Hanover County, North Carolina. The community-based project will test blood, urine, and drinking water samples from 400 participants for GenX and related chemicals.

  • Science Highlights
  • NC State News
Chester Quilt
Patching Together Art and Environmental Health Equity with Chester City Youth

Working with the University of Pennsylvania Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Community Engagement Core (CEC), a group of high school students created an environmental health equity quilt to express their concerns about environmental injustice in their community. The quilt was selected to be featured in the National Academy of Medicine’s nationwide community art project, Visualize Health Equity.

  • Community Engagement
  • Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology
Several used water bottles piled up, glowing blue
Potentially Safer Alternatives to BPA Identified

NIEHS-funded researchers from Texas A&M University have identified a group of potential substitutes for bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting chemical found in water bottles and other common consumer products.

  • Publications
  • NIEHS Selected Extramural Publications
Joel Kaufman posing for a photo
Joel Kaufman's Landmark Air Pollution Study Selected Best in 2016

NIEHS grantee Joel Kaufman, M.D., is lead author of the best environmental epidemiology paper published in 2016, according to the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). The study shared significant findings from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air) about how exposure to air pollution can lead to cardiovascular disease. Kaufman is a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment (EDGE) at the University of Washington.

  • Awards
  • University of Washington School of Public Health
woman and child looking at smoke stacks from a distance
Drinking Water as a Source of Exposure to Industrial Chemicals in the Ohio River Valley

University of Cincinnati researchers found that some Mid-Ohio River Valley residents have higher amounts of the chemical polyfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in their bodies than most other Americans, and industrial releases to the Ohio River may be a major source of exposure.

  • Science Highlights
  • University of Cincinnati
Students use kits provided by the CEC to analyze water samples in a ninth-grade science class.
University of Cincinnati Researchers Build Capacity for Student Scientists

University of Cincinnati Community Engagement Core members provide testing kits for eastern Ohio students to collect, sample, and analyze local water.

  • Community Engagement
  • University of Cincinnati
Two smoke stacks billowing smoke into a clear, blue sky
Air Pollution from Climate Change Expected to Cause Premature Death

Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill EHS Core Center estimates that future climate change, if left unaddressed, will significantly increase premature deaths associated with air pollution.

  • Science Highlights
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill News
A highway with heavy traffic and heavily polluted skyline in the distance
Nationwide Study of U.S. Seniors Strengthens Link Between Air Pollution and Premature Death

A study of 60 million Americans ages 65 and older shows that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases the risk of premature death, even when levels of these pollutants are below air quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health. The research was supported in part by the Harvard EHS Core Center.

  • Science Highlights
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News
Scientist analyzing tests
Aflatoxin Exposure Marker May Lead to Early Detection of Liver Cancer

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Environmental Health Sciences have developed a new way to use genetic sequencing to determine whether liver cells have been exposed to aflatoxin, a fungal product believed to cause up to 80 percent of liver cancer cases. This approach could be used to predict whether someone has a high risk of developing liver cancer, potentially many years before tumors actually appear.

  • Science Highlights
  • Environmental Factor
star trophy
Deputy Director of the UPenn CEC Receives Netter Center Faculty-community Partnership Award

Professor Richard (Rich) Pepino, Deputy Director of the Community Engagement Core within the University of Pennsylvania EHS Core Center, and his partners in the School District of Philadelphia are this year’s recipients of the Netter Center Faculty-Community Partnership Award. The annual award recognizes outstanding Faculty-Community Partnership projects in Philadelphia.

  • Awards
  • Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology
Man giving a presentation
UC Davis Hosts First Academy Day

The first ever UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Academy Day on March 21 brought together multi-disciplinary researchers and community-based organizations to discuss concerns about environmental health impacts, specifically those centered on water safety and contamination issues in the Central Valley of California.

  • Community Engagement
  • UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center
Jiu-Chiuan Chen, M.D., Sc.D.
Dementia Shows Gene-environment Link, Loss of Smell Is Early Sign

Scientists from the Southern California Environmental Health Science Center report dementia is linked to air pollution exposures combined with a certain genetic variation, and an impaired sense of smell may serve as an early warning sign. These findings provide public health experts with new insights to help battle Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia.

  • Science Highlights
  • Environmental Factor
Information graphic depicting a network of people
Case Study Highlights How Community Partnerships Inform Research Translation

In a new publication, members from the EHS Core Center at the University of Michigan and a Stakeholder Advisory Board describe a case study in dialog between environmental health scientists and community members. The team emphasizes the benefits of community partnerships to develop educational tools for Detroit area residents.

  • Community Engagement
  • Partnerships for Environmental Public Health
Person eating fish
Evidence Points to Fish Oil to Fight Asthma

Scientists have discovered how omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil could be used for asthma patients. The research team included members of the University of Rochester EHS Core Center.

  • Science Highlights
  • University of Rochester Medical Center
Gutschow presented
Award-winning Resource Benefits Communities near Busy Roadways

The Community Engagement Core within the Southern California Environmental Health Science Center was recognized for their infographic describing the health risks of living near busy roads. The Transportation Research Board, part of the prestigious, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, recognized the interactive infographic as part of an overall competition focused on communicating the link between transportation and public health.

  • Awards
  • Environmental Factor
Woman with baby
Prenatal Lead Linked with Stunted Growth in Early Childhood

Researchers from the EHS Core Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai reported an association between higher maternal blood lead levels during the third trimester of pregnancy and stunted growth in their children. The study involved participants from the Programming Research in Obesity, Growth, Environment and Social Stressors (PROGRESS) cohort in Mexico City.

  • Science Highlights
  • Environmental Factor
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